Caveat Canon Cartridge Claim

Can you tell that I have a thing for alliteration?

I have a Canon Pixma iP5000 with which I’ve been mostly satisfied. It cleans the jets before and after each printing, and I haven’t had any of the issues I had with my HP1200, where things got clogged and the printer became unusable after a couple of years. Everything I print with the Pixma has been crisp and clean, as long as the ink cartridges haven’t run dry… which brings me to my one gripe.

In what I can only conclude is an effort to improve Canon’s bottom line, the printer’s sensors sense way prematurely that you’re out of ink. I don’t do a whole lot of printing—maybe a few pages a week. So, my ink cartridges should last me a long time. Until about six months ago, each time it told me that a cartridge was empty, I naively believed it, and replaced it. At the time, Costco—where I bought the printer—was still stocking the replacement cartridges, so it was no big deal. Canon, Costco, and I were pretty satisfied.

About six months ago, I got a message that my cartridges were running low. So, I put them on the list for my next trip to Costco. To my horror, however, Costco now stocked only some of the cartridges I needed, and not the ones that allegedly were running low. I mentally back-burnered the problem, thinking I’d either order online or cave and pick up one from Office Depot when it finally did run dry. This was over six months ago.

Sure enough, about two weeks later, I got a message that the smaller black ink cartridge (6e) was empty. Because I needed what I was trying to print (the IRS doesn’t understand “sorry—I was out of ink”), I decided to push the reset button and see if whatever it printed (despite the message) would at least be dark enough. It was perfect. No problem at all. And… the message I see when I print went back to “running low” instead of empty.

So, I decided to see how long I could engage in this little charade. I’ve now pushed the “you’re lying to me, go ahead and print” button at least three times. Each time, my persistence and skepticism has been rewarded with a perfect copy of whatever I wanted to print, and a restoration of the “running low” status. In fact, the “running low” status stays at par for many more printing episodes, only reverting to the “empty” lie after many successful printings. So far, I’ve never actually witnessed a cartridge going empty, so there’s no telling how much more mileage I can get out of the current cartridges.

I’ve concluded that prior to this discovery, I must have wasted many cartridges that were not really anywhere close to empty, but which I thought were empty. I’ve probably saved $100 or more, not to mention the reduced impact on the environment.

Bottom line… if you have an iP5000, don’t necessarily believe that it’s telling the truth when it says you’re out of ink. Push the reset button (just below the power button) and see if what you get is acceptable. My guess is that it will be, and that you’ll get a good deal more printing out of that “empty” cartridge..

This entry was posted in Computing. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply